What Will Their Acceptance be but Life from the Dead?
The Book of Romans has been taught as a foundational book, which it is, but yet, I don't believe its truths are any less rich or deep than other book. When my eyes began to open about the deeper truths hidden in the scriptures I came to find some relevelation in the book of Romans that simply astonished me! What was so surprising was that, although I had read it many times over, I had completely missed some of the most wonderful truths!
You may want to familiarize yourself with Romans 11 before proceeding.
Ready? OK. The focal verse is Romans 11:15
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
What is "life from the dead"? You may have heard this expression used figuratively (like as the dry bones of Ezekiel 37 referring to the reemergence of an Israeli State) but this usage in Romans 11:15 is literal. It refers to a literal resurrection! This verse is a thinly veiled declaration that the very key to a resurrection is the Jewish people! They are the key to every resurrection! What I mean by the key is that a resurrection is contingent upon how they are towards Y'shua, whether they reject Him or accept Him as their Messiah. Their acceptance is the reason why a resurrection happens, its catalyst, or trigger, the precipitating event. This is why the sealing of the 144k sons of Israel (Revelation 7) and the Bride Theft are nearly concurrent events, being bound together in prophetic scenarios throughout the Bible. It was as the Lord was in the process of revealing this truth to me that I was led to see the amazing portrait of the relationship between the acceptance and the consequent resurrection in the twenty-first chapter of John! These two very significant events are one example of several in the multi-step process of grafting back onto the olive root the branches that are natural.
Some people are confused about the meaning of "their rejection" and "their acceptance." When Romans 11:15 is read, even though Paul was given to write in a very plain and even emphatic way that God has not rejected His people Israel, (verses 1-2, 11) when verse 15 is reached, somehow their rejection seems to mean "their rejection by God. It is not "by God" but rather "of God" to which these responses relate. It is Israel doing the rejecting and accepting, not God. Exactly what it is about God being accepted or rejected is found in the context - all the way back in chapter 10.
9 That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE dISAPPOINTED." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE Lord WILL BE SAVED."
To reject God is to fail to call on the name of the Lord. The result of it is to fail to come to this condition of salvation. On the other hand, to accept God brings one to this salvation. This critical matter of acceptance has two features relating to confession and faith, mouth and heart, salvation and righteousness. One is to confess Y'shua as Lord. The other is to believe God raised Him from the dead. Again, these two features constitute what is stated in Romans 11:15 as acceptance.
The traditional focus on salvation has primarily been upon that of individuals, but our interest at the moment is in what marks the transitional events of the ages; salvation on the corporate level, where particular groups of Israel come to acceptance. While many individuals among the Jews have believed on Y'shua as their messiah, it is apparent that the requirements established for a corporate acceptance have not yet been met. There remains a "remnant" from among the Jew, as it is written in Romans 11:5, "at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice." This is a purposed season of Israel's partial hardening, (Romans 11:25) Some of you may be surprised at this, but this season was not only foreseen but intended! The sovereign Creator has a plan for the redemption of all things lost! What we find in Romans 11 is what I call the Jew/Gentile plan. The following passage summarizes it in an address to the Gentiles.
30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Glory to God, whose mercy is everlasting! As it is written in Romans 11:11, it is by Israel's transgression that salvation has come to the Gentiles. We Gentiles should be very very grateful for the Lord's provision for us in this plan. By His exceeding grace, He will even do such a work in these branches broken off a wild olive tree and grafted into Israel's own cultivated olive tree that corporate Israel will become jealous. (Romans 11:11,14) This jealousy is the hook that will ensnare the people whom the Lord chose from among the nations and bring them to salvation. This character trait we might view as wholly evil is actually the key to accomplishing Y'hweh's purposes in man. It is where man is able to be caught, snagged. It was because of envy that the Jews delivered Y'shua up for crucifixion. Where would we be today without the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah? This taking advantage of man's jealous nature is not a matter of the doing of evil that good may come, but is the outworking of a wisdom that leverages what is to redeem what is lost. What will be accomplished when that happens is, according to the comparison given in the following verse, much more riches!
Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
This season of partial hardening where, collectively, Israel has had a deaf ear and a blind eye will pass and the fullness of the Gentiles will have come in. I have heard and read the teaching that implies it is the fullness of the Gentiles that triggers Israel's consequent salvation, but it is actually the other way around.
In a beautiful allegorical presentation, corporate rejection and acceptance is later in the chapter equated with the breaking off and grafting in of branches into the olive tree. Verse 20 uses the terms unbelief and faith in connection with the breaking off / rejection and the grafting in / acceptance. The unbelief and faith is not vague (see the Keys to Developing a Hearing Ear series) but specific, referring to Romans 10:9-11 where it is clearly belief in the risen Messiah Y'shua. But individuals themselves aren't branches but rather collections of individuals, right? In the view from Romans 11:24, verse 15's "their acceptance" is the grafting of a natural branch into their own olive tree, which will be "much more" readily grafted in than the Gentile branches that were "were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree." The grafting process involves more than merely two branches, one natural and one wild. There are a number of distinct branches of each kind. The process is phased, or, stepped; it happens in stages until finally, the redemption is complete and God is all in all.
The first feature of Israel's corporate acceptance (confession of Y'shua as Lord) may be seen in the following verse.
For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE Lord!'
This verse marked a critical stage of Israel's rejection of their Messiah. In Hebrew, this intensely desired yet patiently awaited phrase indicating their acceptance is: Baruch haba b'shem Adonai. What sweet music this will be!!! This is what it is to call upon the name of the Lord. This phrase used in Romans 10:13 points to its first occurrence in Joel 2:32. Peter quoted it in Acts 2:21, thereby instructing us that a very significant instance of calling on the name of the Lord came at the beginning of the age and that it will be matched at its close. This closing application will be the corporate acceptance that will launch a wonderful series of Romans 11:15 transitions!
The other feature of Israel's corporate acceptance, which is believing God raised Y'shua from the dead, is very interesting when you consider how that it is their coming to believe in their risen Messiah that triggers the rising of those in Him.!
Here is an example of such a corporate acceptance where a natural branch is grafted into the cultivated olive tree.
And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
Here's another stage of corporate rejection at a critical juncture of the redemptive plan.
After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews,
24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."' 28 "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." 29 [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]
Why is it written, "otherwise they might see" as though God did not want them to return to be healed? You should understand that it is not that he didn't want them ever to see. He wants them to see, but knows they will not until certain conditions are met. And he knows that others would be lost if the conditions were to be met too soon. So, in his wisdom and patience, Yahweh ordained to withhold corporate faith from Israel until the appointed time. God knew all mankind would not and could not be won as they were. He created us and knows perfectly our nature. Man came together as one in the plain of Shinar and the tower of Babel was built. He knows that by dividing mankind, by making of one, two "old men," the interaction between the one nation He chose and all the others would eventually bring forth the one "new man" in him. The Jew and Gentile interact with each other, and there is a friction, a conflict. As it is written to the Gentile concerning the Jew in verse 28, "From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake." A definite division between the two is evident. There is what we call antisemitism that is inherent among the Goyim, the Gentile and the inverse among the Jew. In Christ, which is to say when an individual comes into the body of Messiah and is nourished from the sap from the cultivated olive root Y'shua, racial division is removed and they are one with Him and thus one with every other individual in Him. But where they are not one with Him they are not one with each other, but separate and again in conflict, and the abiding friction inherent in the carnal flesh is once again between them.
Have you noticed that Paul's heart favored the Jew? Some years ago, the Lord led me to consider that, and as I did I was very strongly impressed upon that this was the Lord's own heart, not merely Paul's, and that the Lord had impressed this upon Paul. From that time when the Lord showed me His heart, I was blessed to receive it as well. In strict terminology, the Lord is racist because he favors the Jew. In this sense, I too am a racist, preferring the Jew, because the Lord by grace has in this matter given me His heart. Oh, Israel, let me hear you say that expression in the presence of your King. Baruch haba b'shem Adonai! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Have you ever wondered why it is that Paul, given his love for his brothers after the flesh, was appointed an Apostle to the Gentile? And, too, why it was that Peter, the apostle to the Jew, was given grace to take the gospel to the household of Cornelius the Gentile and thus usher in the first season of branch in-grafting from what was by nature a wild olive tree? Why the cross nature ministries? Because they are tied together! Why was this age first Jew only, then becoming Gentile dominant, now shortly returning back again? This is the outworking of the plan. First to the Jew, then, the Gentile. The Gentile will keep the yet unfulfilled Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) during the Messianic millennial day reign, because it is truly a festival appointed for them. The Jewish branches will, at that time, already have been fully grafted in.
The world awaits the riches that will be manifest when Israel will have been made jealous, when the appointed season arrives for the ministry appointed to the Apostle Paul to bear its fruit.
Now, although there's more awesome truth to be gleaned from this chapter, I'd like to bring this study to a close with this passage.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable his ways! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM aGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.